Friday, May 17, 2019

No shortcuts

Hi,

A long time ago, in a bedroom somewhere far, far away, a wee boy and his dad read a story about a wizard. The books had become very popular and films followed. Rather good films, IMHO, but that's by the by.

In one of the stories, there's a mirror that - supposedly - shows the viewer what they desire most. Well, words to that effect. I wouldn't want to draw young fans in and then for their parent to explain why there's a person who looks like a bloke but says he's transgender. Mind you, some of them may find that word - and that world - all on their own. :-)

So this week it came to be that a certain well-known social media app released a gender swap filter. And, no, I'll not be providing them with free advertising. Why the book reference and the filter? Because as with all good stories, there's something you can read between the lines... if you'll forgive the cliché. The filter, like the things down in the mirror, is not real. Those with a sci-fi preference may wish to say The Matrix has you. Those of a classic bend: Narcissus and the pool ;-)

The filter if you will, is a lie. Yes, it's a bit of fun and yes, much amusement has been had by some exploring who they might have been. But, there are those who see the filter not as a trick, but as what might be. Another roll of the dice and perhaps we could have been that way: the outside matching the inside. And therein, lies the rub, for no matter how hard you stare into the glass: that's all that image will be, an image. It can't be real and the perfect software driven complexion can't be achieved. For some amusement, for others, more a taunting.

You may feel I'm being overly negative or dramatic, and I may not argue with you. But, I will advise caution. All the wishing in the world won't change who we are. Change comes from us doing the work and putting in the hours. So, try on the filter if you wish, just understand it's not you. To go a little further, be wary of its spell.

Dare I say, you're more than just a photo, 'likes', or upvotes. Keep on being awesome. Keep on being you. If you want to change, change because you want to, not because a filter tempts you. Go as far as you need to go, and if that's far enough, that's fine.

Take care,
Lynn

8 comments:

  1. There's a story by Peter Beagle in which someone is watching a queue of villagers outside the tent of a visiting wizard who promises to grant them their deepest desire. At one point a burly muscled blacksmith enters the tent and moments later a slim pretty girl leaves.
    I've not seen that particular gender swap filter you mention, but naturally I'd be tempted to play with it.
    I've run a lot of my photos in the past through apps like Portrait Pro and Perfect 365, which have 'feminization filters' that allow you to smooth yours skin, reshape your face, slim your nose and widen and enlarge your eyes, before spilling them out into places like Tumblr. It's a fantasy, of course. Without surgery you're never going to look that good, no matter how good your makeup skills, and an untouched photo or a look in the mirror is enough to wrench you back to reality.
    If you treat such apps as a bit of fantasy fluff then it's OK, but if you use them as yardstick to judge yourself by and find yourself wanting then it can be a chastening, and potentially harmful, exercise. At different times I've gone though the whole gamut of reactions between 'damn I can look good' down to 'who the hell do you think you are kidding', and the inevitable bout of depression that follows. By all means have fun, but don't judge yourself by it.

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    1. Ah Wizards. They turn up say it's just 'there & back again' and you get yourself into trouble. That and then your offspring ends up losing a finger in a volcano while being attacked by a soap dodger in a loincloth. I'd stay away. Oh, and don't get draw into pulling a sword from a stone. Where was the small print about being in charge of a kingdom? Gah, all that paperwork! ;-)

      So gags aside, I tend to stay away from such apps for the reasons you say and what I've blogged about. I think - like drinking - you need to be in the right mood. I do use photo software to improve the lighting, trim the snap, or blot out wall damage, but I try not to tweak how I look. Then again, maybe I am 'tweaking' the photo by selecting the one (out of umpteen) that I think are okay. :-)

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  2. 'Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.' They also tend to have a rather inflated view of their own wisdom and importance. Which is probably why Merlin ended being caught out and trapped by a slip of a girl and encased in stone. 'Ware witches, though.
    Oh, when I ran Susie's picture through that app, it added a beard that made her look like Conchita Wurst.

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    1. Particularly if there's three of them and they're offering a crown. Hmmm. I'm seeing some rules for life here ;-)

      Conchita FTW. That reminds me, it's Eurovision tonight. Where acceptance, cheese, camp, and politics all collide :-D Music? Not as much as it should :-)

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    2. L wants to know how she can apply to go to cheese camp.

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    3. One does not simply apply to go to cheese camp ;-)

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  3. Lynn, you are absolutely right, after all you can't photoshop your self in real life. I see a number of photos posted on places like Flickr of attractive girls, but seeing them in real life is a disappointment, because they are not the person they have claimed to be. Apart from cropping and sometimes boosting the saturation a tad I do not alter my photos. I am the person I am!

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    1. Ah, if only we could tho eh? 😁 But what an odd disconnect between the real us and the tweaked us.

      As much as such filters could roll back the years and soften my jawline, it would be as you say: not me.

      Maybe we should all take terrible photos so we look ace in real life? 😉

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